Today we celebrate the life of Dr. Intisar Shareef, social justice advocate, humanitarian, and Trustee of Pikler/Lóczy USA.
October 29, 1946 – November 4, 2017
“In our increasingly diverse society, we all need to be able to create authentic, healthy, equitable relationships with people unlike ourselves, whether our colleagues, coworkers, fellow students, or families of young children. I always want people to be heard thoroughly, without interruption. If you can hear someone regardless of their story, that’s a doorway into understanding your own humanity. I want to set judgments aside and let people and their thoughts progress naturally. If we can give each other more space to be human, to not always have the right answers, we might make it easier to communicate.”
– Dr. Intisar Shareef
Dr. Shareef was co-chair of the Early Childhood Education department at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California, and was most interested in participating in education as a transformative process. She co-authored articles for Exchange magazine with Janet Gonzalez-Mena about their experience as PITC trainers, and for the NAEYC journal Young Children about cultural perspectives on discipline. She also co-authored the publication Practice on Building Bridges, a companion resource to Diversity in Early Care and Education, 5th Ed. In addition, Dr. Shareef conducted trainings (including Pikler introductory workshops) in many parts of the world, and continued to want to learn more, about different perspectives of childrearing.
Messages from our Board, Advisors and friends:
“Dear Intisar, As-Salaam-Alaikum. May your journey be filled with peace, respect, love and kindness; all the fruits of the seeds you cultivated on this earth. Now, how can we ever experience a world without you, Intisar? How can the work on diversity continue? How may we learn to love one another despite our different beliefs? This answer you gave us long ago, and we pay tribute to you by letting you know that we are honoring your life’s work. Yes, we are different, but we are all human beings, deserving of the same respect. This message continues to sing in my ears as I hear your words, Intisar. You went too soon, and in a quiet fashion, because this is who you are, Intisar. Aside from being the best dressed in a crowd, standing out with an aristocratic presence, you were always the most attuned, and of serene spirits. And today you leave us with a soft whisper, like the blowing of the dandelion seeds – an evanescent shooting star – that leaves behind her light and message for peace. I love you dearly and treasure our friendship and your mentorship.” – With eternal love, Elsa
“I am at a loss for words! Me the writer…My world without Intisar in it is unimaginable. I’m devastated. I never even said good-bye. I knew her for many, many years and now she is gone!” – Janet Gonzalez Mena
“With you we mourn the great loss of Intisar. She was such a great teacher, so generous with her intellect, insights, and spirit. Her heart will keep us connected and her ideas will energize and inspire our work always for the love and care of children.” – Love, Bonnie Neugebauer
“Intisar was a force of nature, a force for good. I am truly sorry to hear this news…. What a grand and glorious spirit that we have lost… Intisar advocated tirelessly for children, for families and for all of us. She was truly a wonderful woman and was so generous and giving.” – With love, Enid
“These news break my heart, like Elsa and all of us!
Intisar was for me the symbol of intelligence and sensibility about her role with the Pikler® Institute, for her work about children, about peace, about concord in the world. I am really, profoundly sorry and sad. I will join you to honor her as she deserves.” – With love, Agnes Szanto
“I had to read her message three times to believe what I was reading and now I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. What an incredible loss. Intisar had such a beautiful spirit and we had the absolute joy of her visiting our project here in El Salvador. My entire family fell in love with her in the few short days we got to spend with her. She held the entire 72-person class, of very high-level government officials, enthralled as she taught them about seeing the child in front of you. And she made us all laugh when she was surprised in her hotel, in the morning, by a window full of parrots that almost flew into her room! What a gift it was to have even that small amount of time with her, to learn from her strength, her wisdom and her humor. I can only imagine the loss for her family. Please send them my love and tell them we will be lighting candles for her in El Salvador.” – Meghan López, Whole Child International
“Thank you Intisar for being a warrior of peace, for advocating for diversity and fighting for the children! You will never be forgotten and will live in the hearts and memories of all of us! Rest In Peace.” – Love, Larissa Neilson
“We have certainly lost a warrior- Intisar is one of those rare, special people who lights up a room and a conversation with her presence. I have always been inspired by her and am deeply saddened by this news.” – Nicole Vigliotti
“Intisar was a great educator, a role model, and a wise woman. She brought humor, courage, and diversity wherever she went and shared a questioning mind and deep understanding with those around her. She often glowed with an inner strength and confidence that could be felt in the room. She will be deeply missed by many and our loss runs deep.” – Love, Linda Hinrichs
“I am deeply saddened by Intisar’s passing, the loss of her powerful presence. It was a great gift to learn from Intisar and share moments of wonder. She challenged us to think critically, go beyond our way of seeing the world, and open ourselves up to diversity. Intisar spoke with clarity and wisdom, always getting to the heart of the matter. Her understanding, empathy, and love of young children and families were inspirational to me and to so many others. Words could never fully express our loss. Intisar uplifted everyone whose life she touched.” – Warmly, Peter Mangione
“It is mystery to me how love can continue to grow. My two granddaughters are testimony to the fact that our capacity to love others is boundless. Both their fathers are my adopted sons and it amazes me that their offspring look just like them. What a blessing for them to finally “see themselves” in the flesh. Pikler® has been extremely important to me as I have learned how to hold my children and to let them go simultaneously. The balance we all seek is not just physical but also emotional and spiritual. The wisdom of Dr. Pikler and Dr. Tardos has been a healing power in my life. I am eternally grateful to both of them.”
– Dr. Intisar Shareef